Iowa Ham Balls Recipe
Iowa Ham Balls Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Iowa Ham Balls Recipe

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4.5 10 11
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This is a special recipe my whole family likes. Every time they visit and I make Ham Balls, they're all smiles. When I take this to potluck meals, I'm always asked to share the recipe. It's very appropriate for my region, too, since Iowa farmers raise prize-winning pigs and cattle.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour
MAKES:15 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour
MAKES: 15 servings


  • 3-1/2 pounds ground ham
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) tomato soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 606 calories, 29g fat (10g saturated fat), 136mg cholesterol, 1648mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (42g sugars, 1g fiber), 32g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Using a 1/3 cup measure, shape mixture into 2-in. balls. Place in two large shallow roasting pans. Combine all remaining ingredients; pour over balls. Bake at 325° for 1 hour, basting frequently with sauce. Yield: about 15 servings.
Originally published as Iowa Ham Balls in Country April/May 1992, p47

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

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cathycraig User ID: 2718152 234047
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2015

" the calories really over 600 calories for one two inch ball? Thanks"

rushing31 User ID: 8027877 39169
Reviewed Nov. 22, 2014

"Well first off we live in Georgia so not sure if we are drawn to the same spice as this was WAY to sweet for our liking. We went with the ground turkey and a slice and serve ham that I ground myself. Also the texture was a lot looser than I expected. It just didn't have that snap that a good meatball has. I would give this a 2 1/2 star meaning it was ok. It was edible but not enjoyable for us."

cre8ivecook User ID: 7556563 53702
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2013

"Well living in Phoenix now for two decades nothing helps cure homesick at holidays like back in Iowa Ham balls (grandma famous stuff yourself family favorite) all I can say is in IOWA we DONT USE BEEF but correctly ground pork (shoulder) but I do like this version with more egg than grandma's. Also if you want balls a bit less sweet is to substitue one cup Ritz crackers for one cup graham crackers. Crisler/favorite side to use the extra gravy on top of cream cheese loaded mashed potatoes..YUM!"

Reneegade1 User ID: 7199937 36974
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2013

"Wow this was a hit at my Easter family gathering. The hard part of the recipe is expecting the butcher to grind up a ham, well I learned they don't. So I used my Kitchenaid attachment to grind meat and it worked perfectly. I cooked the meatballs in the oven in glasspans ahead of time. The day of the party I transferred them to a slow cooker and made more sauce to add to the slow cooker. I did change the recipe and did not use as much sugar. I think I used 1.5 cups instead of the 2.5 cups. I also substituted the ground beef with ground turkey instead."

Snowbaby_4 User ID: 7127976 22459
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2013

"Reminds me of when I ws a child!"

auzzy0505 User ID: 6897963 39145
Reviewed Oct. 3, 2012

"Super easy and great for a crowd. I buy ground ham in the tube, but you can buy a boneless ham and have your butcher grind it if you have the time.

A friend of mine from church brought this over to our home when my husband had transplant surgery. It was new to all of us and I have to admit, we all gave it an eyebrow raise...and then we tasted them. This recipe will leave you licking your plate clean and don't be suprised if you find yourself having a serious craving for ham balls. WONDERFUL!!"

ellieroene User ID: 3467376 26348
Reviewed Jun. 26, 2012

"I only made 1/2 of the sauce because I only had 1 can of tomato soup and it was still fine, in fact my husband liked them not so saucey."

Angelique177 User ID: 5111761 26337
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2011

"What a wonderful, budget friendly recipe. I used apple cider vinegar with 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Also great use for leftover ham!"

shanehoover013 User ID: 5603205 26334
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2010


motherofdogs User ID: 265088 10926
Reviewed Dec. 28, 2009


This is a similar recipe from Taste of Home Aug./Sept. 1999 issue.  I've made it many times, sometimes for company, and it's wonderful!  Instead of shaping into 1/2 cup loaves, I pack the mixture into 1/2 cup stainless steel measuring cup, then I place them in 9 x 13 glass baking dish.    -motherof dogs  


Miniature Ham Loaves

 Miniature Ham Loaves
When there's a special dinner coming, Mom will usually prepare these scrumptious loaves several days in advance and freeze them. Then she only needs to bake them before dinner. We all anticipate their wonderful aroma and flavor. -Alyson Armstrong, Parkersburg, West Virginia
12-14 ServingsPrep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 22 squares)
  • 1-1/4 pounds ground fully cooked ham
  • 1-1/4 pounds bulk pork sausage
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard


  • In a bowl, combine eggs, milk and cracker crumbs; mix well. Add ham
  • and sausage. Shape 1/2 cupfuls into individual loaves. Place in a
  • greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the soup, brown sugar,
  • vinegar and mustard; mix well. Pour over loaves. Bake, uncovered, at
  • 350° for 1 hour, basting after 30 minutes. Yield: 12-14
  • servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 335 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 73 mg cholesterol, 902 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 13 g protein.
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